George J. Andreve
529, Dunkirk Road, Baltimore, Baltimore County
Villa Anneslie, 529 Dunkirk Road, was built c. 1855 by Frederick Harrison as a summer home. Mr. Harrison, a civil engineer, named his estate for his daughter, Anne. Anneslie, one of a line of estates on York Road from Towson to Waverly, was built on a 100-acre tract bounded by York Road, Sherwood Road, Regester Avenue, and Windwood Road. Built of brick covered with clapboard, Anneslie is an Italianate 2-story villa. It was designed by John Rudolph Niernsee of Niernsee & Nielson, a Baltimore architectural firm. Though the house is not exceptionally elaborate, the architect closely followed A.J. Downing’s designs. Niernsee’s asymmetrical design with a central tower over the entrance and his floor plan can be readily found in Downing’s books. Anneslie’s main elevation faces west toward York Road. Its 3-story tower forms part of a 1-story porch which extends across the three bays to the north. To the south of the tower, the parlor and bedroom above project slightly and have a large 2-story, rectangular bay window. A servants’ wing forms the northern elevation along Dunkirk Road. On its first floor were the kitchen, laundry, pantry, store rooms, and a bathroom. A servants’ stair leads to three small bedrooms above. The cast iron wood stove has been moved to the stone outbuilding, now a guest house, and the servants’ wing has been converted into an apartment. The detailing and decoration of Anneslie is good but not extensive. Most of the architraves, including circular headed windows, are plain. However, the circular, third-story tower window as well as the entrance are flanked by pilasters and have prominent keystones. Most of the gables have a small, circular window.
Villa Anneslie is one of the 19th century country houses which have survived the commercial and residential development along York Road from Baltimore to Towson. At one time it was part of a continuous line of estates along that road from Waverly to Towson. Although now surrounded by suburbia, this house is a fine, well proportioned example of an Italianate villa. Anneslie’s architect knew and closely followed A.J. Downing’s pattern books for his romantic design. This house is not as rich in ornament as some other similar villas, but it remains in good condition and has not been significantly altered. The house is also significant for its association with its architect, John Rudoph Niernsee, a prominent Baltimore architect and member of the firm Niernsee and Nielson.